Teachers “popping pill” And being on long-term sick leave, due to the culture of non-stop school emails and WhatsApp messages that are “ding and ping” day and night, said at a conference.
Delegate after platform at the annual conference of the NASUWT Teachers Union in Birmingham to condemn the increase in workload and to describe the devastating effects on health and well-being.
Meanwhile, teachers who are being given finger painting, “knit and natter” and mindfulness sessions near the end of their teasers as schools try their best to support struggling workers, are heard at the conference.
Owen Morgan-Lee, a Flintshire correspondent, told members: “We know some colleagues are chronically ill because they are taking pills to rejuvenate themselves. ”
Morgan-Lee said her school tried to help by organizing a wellness session for teachers on the day of the training. She was offered finger-painting in the art department, a round of gold on the school grounds, and “Knit and Natter” in the textile class, but decided to be mindful.
“Sweaty, cold, lying on the floor of the hall, wondering what sounded like my knees, how my toes felt, and what the taste of those grapes was and how it felt on my face,” he said. “I was thinking about the stress, the anxiety, the fear of going back to the classroom, and how many more seconds or minutes I would have to do before logging into my school emails, how many more minutes I would have to do it, because I had reached Nirvana before it was all over.”
“None of this will reduce the workload,” Morgan-Lee said. “All we need is colleagues, real, real change. We don’t need sticking plaster. We need real change in the workload and we need it now. “
Damien McNalty, the union’s national executive, warned that work pressure was pushing teachers out of the profession. “We’ve got a 24/7 culture where telephones, tablets and smartphones are turned on,” and while school leaders can’t respond to emails outside of work, they set up WhatsApp groups that “do something all evening when you ‘ding and ping.’ Trying to rest and relax. “
He says: “It simply came to our notice then. Lots. It’s time for a limit. We will no longer tolerate overwork. ”
NASUWT members unanimously voted in favor of a campaign to limit their working hours and called on unions to promote teachers’ rights for career balance.
According to a NASUWT survey of 4,000 UK members, nine out of 10 (91%) said workload increased last year – 61% said it increased significantly – with full-time teachers working 57 hours a week in the middle of the week. Teachers who took part in the survey said they spent more time in the past year on pastoral care, admin, data and assessment, as well as teaching, distance learning and dealing with parents.
More than four in five (84%) believe their jobs have had an adverse effect on their mental health in the past year, with 52% citing work stress as the main cause.
Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT, said: “No teacher should expect work stress levels to make them sick or drive them out of the job of their choice. Teachers deserve better contracts, which must include a contractual entitlement to their workload and work time. “
The education department has been contacted for comment.